I headed down to Santa Cruz this past Saturday to paint a bit on the beach. I hadn't done this before, at least not with a proper canvas and acrylic paints, so I had a marvelous time even though there's a lot of sand all up in my paint box.
I cruised Pacific avenue after a healthy amount of sunshine and seawater, stumbling upon a wellness fair which is right up my ally. After listening to a very stoned man talk about herbal suppliments (which I'm totally into...the suppliments, not the stoned man) I treated myself to a meal at Cafe Gratitude. I love this place with all my heart. It's delicious and vegan, and has a neighborhood cafe vibe pulsing through it's walls.
I thouroughly enojoyed my solo art date and I smiled to myself as I strolled by shops and musicians, feeling elated that I had granted myself the sacred time to make a painting on the beach. Out of the corner of my eye I spied some men in costume. They were dressed in colonial garb and pointing to art prints on tall pieces of plywood. I crossed the street and introduced myself only to recieve a great message at the end of a great day.
The man posing as a founding father was named Alex Skelton and he is an artist. He and his fellow creative were trying to make a point about free speech on the streets of Santa Cruz, and give a clever middle finger to the city for trying to drive them all away.
As we got deeper into his story it was clear that this guy had something important to share. He quit his 9-5 and hit the road, selling his art and living out of his car. You could say he's living the dream, or you could say he gave up a decent life for constant struggle and gosh what a kook he is. But this thing is, he is highly intelligent and he seemed happy.
"Get involved with your community, get involved with art, get involved with life!" he said. "It's cliqué to say art is important, but it's true. I mean, look at what's happening here. I share my art and it opens a door for you all to come over and talk to me, and therefore we're all connected right now, whereas in other situations we might just pass eachother on the street and never stop."
Now, I hadn't thought of it that way. The part about being an artist that scares me the most is the part where we connect with others. It's exhilerating when you experience it, but it's so very difficult to open that door sometimes. That's what held me back from launching my kickstarter for so long. What made me stop playing music after my tour. What makes me scared for the next leap I'll need to make- the song that's calling in my heart that is telling me to sing loudly and dance wildly even if no one understands.
But when you open the door. Oh....the beauty. I know it's worth all of that, and that's why I'm trying my hardest to push it open.